NASA In 2018 ExoMars Rover
The European Space Agency's (ESA) ExoMars program (Exobiology on Mars) is a series of missions designed to understand if life ever existed on Mars. Just as other countries often participate in NASA Mars missions, NASA contributes scientific, engineering, and technical expertise to other international efforts to explore the Red Planet.
NASA's participation in the 2018 ExoMars Rover mission includes providing critical elements to the premier astrobiology instrument on the rover, the Mars Organic Molecule Analyzer (MOMA). By studying organic molecules (the chemical building blocks of life as we know it), MOMA is designed to help answer questions about whether life ever existed on Mars, as well as its potential origin, evolution, and distribution on the Red Planet.
NASA is providing a mass spectrometer and key electronic components for MOMA. A mass spectrometer is an instrument used to detect the masses and relative concentrations of atoms and molecules in a substance. The NASA-provided MOMA mass spectrometer is designed to analyze the types and amounts of chemicals that make up organic and inorganic compounds found in rock and soil samples on Mars.
Updated: January 2013